How To Help Your Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer Win Your Case

personal injury law

Most lawsuits in the United States involve personal injury, including car accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. However, if you have been injured because of someone’s negligence, there are several things you can do to help your personal injury attorney try to win your case. Read below to learn more, and contact our Orange County personal injury attorney at Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C., for more information.

Tell Your Attorney The Truth

Suppose you are in a car accident in Orange County near Disneyland Park or Knott Berry Farm. Someone turned left in front of your SUV, and you T-boned them. It sounds like it was the other driver’s fault. What if you were speeding and 25% responsible for the accident?

You can still recover compensation in a lawsuit if you are partially at fault, but do not be tempted to hide the truth from your attorney. The truth will be exposed during the police investigation and lawsuit discovery. Therefore, it is always best to be honest with your attorney. Give them all the facts, so they are ready for any weak parts of the case.

Save All Accident-Related Documents

You should save all documents that are related to the accident. These include the police report; photos of your injuries and the vehicles; contact information from witnesses; medical bills, and notes on when you received medical treatments. Your attorney will gather most of these documents but you can save time by gathering them yourself. 

Also, think about writing or videoing a personal injury journal. This can help describe the pain you are in as you recover. In addition, the journal may be used by your injury attorney during settlement negotiations.

Do Not Guess

If asked about the accident, you should stick to the truth. While you should not admit fault, always tell the truth.

For instance, if you are unsure how fast you were going when the car hit you, ask your attorney whether to simply say you do not know. The insurance company will use anything you say that is inaccurate against you. It may be an innocent mistake, but the other side will try to portray it as you being reckless at worst or untruthful at best.

Do Not Speak To Their Insurance Company

The insurance company for the liable party may attempt to contact you after the accident, even on the same day. They are not interested in your well-being. They often want potential claimants to sign a quick settlement agreement before they hire an Orange County personal injury attorney. The insurance company knows the odds are a lawyer will almost always argue for more money than if a potential claimant does not have a lawyer. Hiring an attorney will mean that if the insurance company keeps calling you, you could simply tell them you hired a lawyer, and they need to talk to your attorney.

Avoid Social Media

It is understandable to want to tell people about what happened to you. However, you should not post about the accident or case on social media. The insurance company might watch you closely after the incident, including monitoring your social media feeds.

Posting about your accident and injuries can be twisted and used against you. If you even post about going for a walk, the insurance company may attempt to argue you are not hurt. Ask your attorney whether it might be a good idea to take a break from social media until the case is over.

Respond To Your Attorney

It is a common complaint when an attorney does not respond to a client’s calls or emails. It goes the other way, too. If your attorney calls or emails for information, do your best to get back to them the same day.

On a related note, if your attorney files a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant will send interrogatories, or written questions, to your lawyer. The lawyer’s office will probably send those questions to you. Answering the interrogatories promptly and giving your attorney the necessary information is vital. The case could be compromised or even dismissed if you do not provide the correct information on time.

Whether To Take A Settlement If Your Attorney Recommends It

The vast majority of personal injury cases end in a settlement. It is often not worth the risk and expense of going to trial – for either side. If your attorney recommends you settle for a certain amount, strongly consider it. But if your lawyer says you should go to trial, you should probably follow their recommendation. They are more familiar with accident cases and the law than most people.

Act Quickly

California has a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims. This is the length of time you have since the accident to file a lawsuit. This may sound like plenty of time, but it can go by fast. Maybe you thought your truck accident injuries would heal independently, and they did not after a year. 

Give your attorney as much time as possible to build a strong case. If the claim must be thrown together at the last minute, it will be more difficult to prevail.

Make A Good Impression

If you must go to court, make the best possible impression. Dress well, be polite, and tell the truth. Juries make decisions based on the facts and how you look and act. Your attorney will advise you on how to look and act if you need to appear in court.

See Your Doctor And Keep Your Medical Appointments

One of the most critical parts of getting a large settlement in a lawsuit is having your doctor on your side. The professional opinion of a doctor is essential to winning a case. In addition, you need your doctor to describe the severity of your injuries and how they are related to the accident.

The courts see doctors as expert witnesses. Therefore, their testimony is critical to the success of potential claims.  

Speak To An Orange County Personal Injury Attorney Today

Were you injured in a car accident in Orange County on Beach Boulevard, Ortega Highway, or Laguna Canyon Road? You might need a personal injury attorney if the other driver caused the accident. Orange County personal injury attorneys at Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. can help. Please contact our SOCAL personal injury lawyers at (888) 883-6588 for a complimentary consultation.

How New California Policy Limit Demand Law Could Impact Personal Injury Cases

policy limit demand

 Auto accidents happen every day on Orange County roads, such as I-5 Santa Ana Freeway and I-405 San Diego Freeway, and lead to injury and damages. Sometimes these cases will lead to a policy limit insurance coverage claim. In California, a pending law change may affect policy limit demands in Orange County and elsewhere. If you have been hurt in an accident because of someone’s negligence, talk to our Orange County personal injury attorneys at Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C.

What Is A Policy Limit Demand In California?

It is understood in the state that insurance companies need to accept policy limit demands. However, the ideas of fair dealing and good faith in an insurance contract mean the insurance company should not expose a client to liability if a judgment is more than policy limits.

California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 999-999.5

California Code of Civil Procedure sections 999-999.5, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2023, sets up essential statutory requirements for people making policy limit demands in California. The idea driving the new law is to establish guidelines for using time-limited demands to settle personal injury lawsuits in many areas, including auto, commercial, and homeowner policies.

A time-limited demand is described as the following in C.C.P 999 (b) (2): “an offer before the filing of the complaint or demand for arbitration to settle any cause of action or a claim for personal injury, property damage, bodily injury, or wrongful death made by or on behalf of a claimant to a tortfeasor with a liability insurance policy for purposes of settling the claim against the tortfeasor within the insurer’s limit of liability insurance, which by its terms must be accepted within a specified period.”

The California statute, Senate Bill 1155, has established the standards below when the claimant puts forth a time-limited demand. The demand letter needs to have these attributes:

  • First, the demand needs to be in writing.
  • It must be called a time-limited demand.
  • It must provide at least 30 days for the other party to accept the demand when delivered by email. It must provide 33 days if it is sent by conventional mail.
  • The letter must clearly demand to settle the matter inside insurance policy limits. It also needs to satisfy all liens.
  • The letter needs to state the loss date when the loss occurred, and a claim number, if there is one.
  • It must provide a description of every personal injury that the person had.
  • It must provide clear evidence of the claim and damages. It can include medical expenses and related records.

When the insurer gets the policy limit demand, it is allowed under the new California law to request additional information. Making this request does not mean there was a counteroffer or a rejection. If the insurer rejects the demand, the claimant must be informed in written form before the 30 days or 33 days expires. The new law will offer a more level playing field on both sides of California civil claims.

How Often Do Personal Injury Claims Exceed Policy Limits?

One of the problems with some personal injury claims is the policyholder’s policy limits may not be enough to cover all damages after an accident. So, how often do accident settlements exceed California policy limits?

California Vehicle Code 16451 states minimum liability coverage is set for all California drivers. This minimum includes property damage and bodily injury. The minimum is $15,000 for the injury or death of one person in one accident and $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in one accident.

You also must have at least $5,000 for damage to the other person’s property. But remember that these amounts are only the minimum; many people have much higher coverage.

What Happens If Your Claim Exceeds Policy Limits?

The law in California provides that insurers must review every detail of a claim and provide a fair settlement. However, most insurers think a ‘fair settlement’ is any number at or below policy limits. So, for example, if the driver who is at fault has $15,000 coverage for bodily injury, the injured person should be entitled to $15,000. But how often do claims go over policy limits in the state?

In most cases, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. If the injured party filed a personal injury lawsuit, the insurer might try to reduce or deny the claim. If this happens, it is common for the injured party to file a personal injury lawsuit against the insurance company or another party involved in the incident.

How To Sue Beyond Insurance Policy Limits?

If your accident claim exceeds the policy limits, there are several ways to obtain additional compensation. The first is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault person in the accident. If the liable person has significant financial resources, it could be best to file a lawsuit against them for the additional money they owe.

However, not all liable parties have the funds to pay for a judgment. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against a driver with a low income or no assets will probably not lead to more money for you. If that is the case, your Orange County personal injury attorney will consider other options. 

One option could be to file a lawsuit against the insurer for operating in bad faith. If the insurer is trying to minimize or deny your claim, these tactics could be illegal in some situations. If your attorney can prove it, the insurer may be successfully sued for acting in bad faith when a claim goes over policy limits. The other option is to sue someone else involved in the accident.

Speak To Our Orange County Personal Injury Attorneys Today

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses and damages. Law Office of Joseph Richards P.C. has skilled Orange County personal injury lawyers who can help you. Contact our Orange County Personal Injury Attorneys now at (888) 883-6588 for a complimentary consultation. Our lawyers work with injured clients in Riverside County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County.